Describe the Night is playing at the Atlantic Theater located at 336 West 20th Street. The musical runs two hours forty five minutes with two brief intermissions. It closes on December 24, 2017.
Rajiv Joseph is the playwright. His play Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo was the finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Danny Burnstein was nominated for six Tony Awards for Fiddler on the Roof (2016), Cabaret (2014), Golden Boy (2013), Follies (2012), South Pacific (2008) and The Drowsy Chaperone (2006).
Zach Grenier was nominated for a Tony Award for 33 Variations (2009).
The play opens in Poland 1920. Isaac (Danny Bernstein) is a Russian writer. He is writing in his journal “Describe the Night”. Isaac is traveling the country with the Red Cavalry. Nikolai (Zach Grenier) is a soldier that questions him what is he writing. He shows him his journal.
Each scene jumps back and forth from 1920, 1940, 1937, 1987, 1989 2010, and 2003.
In the next scene we are in Smolenski, Poland in 2003. Feliks (Stephen Stocking) runs a car rental. He looks scared. Someone pounds on the door. When he finally opens the door Mariya (Nadia Bowers) rushes in. She is a reporter and is hiding from the police. The press was there for an event when the president, his family and most of the polish government were killed. They locked up all the press, Mariya got away. Feliks admits when he heard the noise he went to investigate and found one women alive with a piece of metal thru her. The woman hands him Isaac’s journal. Feliks hands it to her when she leaves.
Years later Isaac and Nikolai, who is a big shot in the government meet again. Nikolai inviteshim to his home to meet his wife Yevgenia (Tina Banka). Isaac said he has been married for nine years and his wife lives in Paris. Isaac and Yevgenia have an affair. She gets pregnant with Isaac child, her husband has no idea it’s not his. Things happen to her.
Nikolai fall from grace with the government. He is now working in the records department. Vova (Max Gordon Moore) comes in denying what his records say about him. Nikolai changes the information to make him look out to be the best qualified for the KGB. He will do it on one condition that he watches his granddaughter Urzula (Rebecca Naomi Jones) to make sure she doesn’t cross the border.
Those are the characters. Each scene goes back and forth in time showing us what happens to them and how their live intertwine. It will flash on the top of the stage wall where we Dresden, 1989, Freedom.
This is an excellent play. It may be long, three acts but it is worth seeing.
The cast puts their heart and soul into their characters. They all shine. Danny Burnstein and Zach Grenier are amazing.
The set is not fancy but it serves it purpose especially when the Berlin wall falls. Tim Mackabee is the scenic designer.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.